Date Night

Romance comes in all different forms at these four spots


Every couple has their style. Some are traditionalists, some like to walk on the wild side, some like a mix of both. For this Valentines season, choose a dining experience that suits yours with these four different date spots, each as unique as the last and sure to provide a most memorable night.

With its 18-century-built brick dining room hung with crystal chandeliers and warmed by fireplaces, One if by Land, Two if by Sea is a throwback to an earlier era where courtship was all about impressing your partner with proper manners and sweeping romantic gestures—and impress this restaurant does. Set in what was once Aaron Burr’s carriage house, it’s repeatedly voted as the city’s most romantic restaurant, with live piano music and food as traditional as the setting. There’s foie gras torchon, hen prepared in the style of coq au vin, beef wellington, Eden Farms pork with bread pudding, and a chef’s tasting menu that comes highly recommended for a slow and sumptuous meal. (Barrow St. nr. Seventh Ave.)

At Asiate, dining experiences begin with a 35-floor elevator ascent to the stunning sky lobby of the Mandarin Oriental hotel on Columbus Circle. Upon entering, it may take a minute to take in the dazzlingly luxe dining room and towering wine vaults, but the real scene-stealer is the view of Central Park and the East Side out the 16-foot windows, which every table is positioned to enjoy. But for all of its visual effect, Asiate is also among the city’s most highly critically rated restaurants, thanks to chef Garrison Price’s inventive American fusion cuisine that involves classic mains like lobster, branzino, and gnocchi, spruced up with touches like vanilla-scented carrots and burrata froth. To further enhance the occasion, there’s an impressive caviar selection that’s best enjoyed timed with a sunset over the park. (Columbus Circle, nr. Broadway)

For couples looking for an experience to talk about, a meal at The Rainbow Room is just the thing to fit the bill. Sixty-five floors high above of Rockefeller Plaza, The Rainbow Room lives up to its reputation as a romantic destination—and New York City landmark, as it was declared in 2012­—with panoramic views stretching from the Empire State Building to Central Park. First opened during the Great Depression, The Rainbow Room reopened in 2014 after extensive renovations that now see it at its most glamorous yet: curtains of the floor-to-ceiling windows come as dangling crystals, and the compass-rose parquet dance floor once again spins. Still perpetuating the formality of the days when Cole Porter would frequent its tables, The Rainbow Room takes reservations well in advance for Dinner and Dancing on Friday and Saturday nights, and its $125-per-head Sunday brunch is one of the most extravagant in the city. When it comes to putting on the ritz like a Rockefeller, this is the place to do it. (Rockefeller Plaza nr. Fifth Ave.)

New York chocoholics and oenophiles alike know that Ayza Wine and Chocolate Bar is one of the classiest places to satisfy their fine tastes. With locations in the garment district and the West Village, Ayza draws a chic after-dinner crowd—though it does serve small plates, too—with its dessert, drink, and wine menus. Selections from chocolatiers Jacques Torres, Tumbador, and Cioccolada (whose offerings are raw, kosher, and vegan) are available by the bite for piece-by-piece samplings, while more decadent options come as chocolate-covered strawberries and a crème brûlée rendition of a mille-fueille. The wine menu is comprehensive yet approachable, and the martini menu is similar length, including six flavors of chocolate martinis that come served with a truffle on the side. Have aphrodisiacs ever come in a better combination? (Seventh Ave. nr. Leroy St.; 31st St. nr. Fifth Ave.)

(Photo Credit: Asiate)